Burning Sweetly by Quon Scott

Burning Sweetly

Words from the Heart
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A collection of short poems largely lamenting the loss of love and life, with subjects ranging from romantic couplings to marine creatures.

Few works of poetry come with a guide explaining how to interpret the use of uppercase and lowercase lettering as well as the specific types of pauses associated with commas and dashes. Yet, after a brief autobiographical introduction, Scott covers these issues in a section called “To Assist in Conveying Tone & Rhythm.” Scott, who has clearly put a great deal of thought into constructing his poetry, is most successful in his shorter works that capture a particular feeling, as in “Hmmmnnn….”: “A bed of nails / razorblades in apples, / gasoline on an open wound, / having your teeth smashed with a hammer / anything is better than the pain & torment / I have inside me.” Many of the poems are odes to a long-lost lover—featuring numerous mentions of falling asleep lonely and crying in a bed—while some, such as “Glorious Blue,” break free of the romantic longing and describe, for instance, the beautiful and ultimately tragic journey of a dolphin. However, weightier topics can come off as slightly on-the-nose and short on gravitas. For instance, “Words To A Murderer” begins: “I was happy. / You made me happy until you killed me. / I lay dead. / Dead. / Not moving to call my mother on her birthday, / not to see what’s wrong with my car, / not to see my friend’s newborn child, / not to eat. / Dead.” The poem implies the murderer and the murdered know each other, so it’s too bad there isn’t more background on what transpired; instead, the poem feels incomplete. In fact, throughout the collection there’s often a sense of opportunities being missed and a satisfying deeper layer being absent. Some poems illuminate a particular feeling—nostalgia, loneliness, etc.—but go no further, and others feel like partial pieces of a narrative. Scott has talent, but the works can seem shallow and frustratingly opaque.

Shows great promise, but a hit-and-miss execution leads to alternating delights and puzzles.

Publisher: Fluid Vision
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:


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